April 26, 2009
LOS ANGELES - Sophomore Shea Vucinich homered and drove in three runs as Washington State defeated USC 6-4 in the rubber match of a three-game Pacific-10 Conference baseball series, Sunday.
Washington State (21-18, 10-5 Pac-10) is in sole possession of second place in the Pac-10, a half game ahead of UCLA, which defeated Oregon State, Sunday. The Beavers are a game behind WSU and USC (21-19, 10-8) trails the Cougars by a game and a half.
The Cougars scored first with three runs in the second. Senior Jared Prince reached on an error to open the inning and moved to second on a one-out single by redshirt-sophomore Jay Ponciano. With two outs, sophomore Ryan Peterson singled to score Prince with the first run of the game. After sophomore Garry Kuykendall was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Vucinich knocked home two runs with a single.
"We got a great pitching performance from David Stilley and our bullpen came through in key situations," WSU Head Coach Donnie Marbut said. "Some guys who have not seen a ton of playing time contributed in a big way."
In the fifth, Vucinich led off with a home run, his fifth of the season, off USC starter Robert Stock (3-2) to give the Cougars a 4-0 advantage.
In the home half of the sixth, USC scored a run and loaded the bases with one out to chase WSU redshirt-freshman starter David Stilley (2-0). Junior Seth Harvey came out of the Cougar bullpen and ended the threat by striking out pinch hitter Brandon Garcia and inducing Alex Sherrod to tap into a force out.
WSU answered with a run in the seventh that increased its lead to 5-1. Peterson led off the frame with a single and was sacrificed to second by Kuykendall. After Vucinich walked, freshman Derek Jones singled home Peterson.
USC pulled within 5-4 on a run in the seventh and two in the eighth off WSU redshirt-junior Jeremy Johnson. The Trojans were looking to take the lead with runners at second and third and one out in the eighth, but Johnson struck out Sherrod and retired Stock on a fly ball to end the threat.
The Cougars picked up an insurance run in the ninth on a leadoff walk to Jones, sacrifice bunt by senior Greg Lagreid, and two-out double by junior Michael Weber. Johnson then set the Trojans down in order in the ninth to record his sixth save of the season.
The Cougars won a series at USC and have won series against the Trojans in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history...Washington State has won 10 Pac-10 games, tied for the most by a Cougar squad since the conference reunified in 1999...sophomore Ryan Peterson tied his career high with three hits...redshirt-sophomore Jeremy Johnson moved into a tie for sixth on the WSU single-season list with his sixth save.